On Earth Day 2023, the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, celebrated several significant environmental achievements. One of the most recent was through its continued multi-year collaboration with Siemens to improve energy efficiency, sustainability, and resilience of the community’s municipal and educational infrastructure, with an exclusive focus on the city’s K-12 schools.
Per information in a press release, the $27.8 million improvement project will be supported by a combination of energy savings, grants, and utility rebates, so there is no impact to Springfield taxpayers. The City also applied proactively for Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) funding to improve indoor air quality (IAQ), update key building systems, and improve energy efficiency.
By replacing end-of-life building systems at six schools with new, more energy-efficient HVAC and energy management systems, and addressing deferred maintenance and aging infrastructure, teachers, staff, and students will benefit from improved IAQ, which will have a positive impact on the learning environment. The affected buildings and infrastructure range in age from 30 to more than 100 years old and are in dire need of updating.
“The City of Springfield takes the management of its energy resources and ‘going green’ very seriously,” said Patrick Sullivan, the city’s Executive Director of Parks, Buildings, and Recreation Management. “Investments in our school buildings and municipal facilities are investments in the people who live, work, and learn here in Springfield. Siemens helped us realize the opportunity to make significant and long-lasting improvements that can directly impact the learning environment – without passing the tax burden onto our residents.”
The city has been working with Siemens since 2006 to create a long-term vision. To date, a combination of energy efficiency improvement measures has not only reduced the city’s carbon footprint and utility costs every year, but it has also alleviated millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the earth’s atmosphere annually. Siemens noted that in 2020, Sullivan received the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lifetime achievement award for his “Going Green” initiatives, which include the energy and infrastructure improvement projects with Siemens.
“The long-term partnership with Siemens to upgrade our public buildings infrastructure is an important component of transforming Springfield. With many improvements already in place, we’re creating quality environments for our students, teachers, and employees in our schools and municipal buildings,” says Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. “When you enhance these environments, there is a domino effect in health benefits across the board. In fact, we have seen about a four percent decrease in asthma in our schools, and test scores continue to rise among our students.”